Sijo #6

I break with waves on shoreline,

watch their steady, redundant work.

Face to face with oceans, I am small

countless grains of sand clinging

to my body, holding on to my sweat.

Stubborn, they refuse to be brushed away.

Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

Sijo #5

Sixteen

Small talk hums familiar tunes

a catchy chorus, a soft refrain

and I too can say some days stood close

to eternity, sun still, but years sprinted by.

Now that you stand more man than boy.

what is left to be sung of time?

Sijo #4

Easter Flowers

When winter is an endless gray

the hard ground, a cold tomb,

when that daffodil bud pushes 

through dirt, past brown grass,

yellow petals unfurl, winter births

another resurrection, another spring.

Photo by David Jakab on Pexels.com

Poetry Challenge for April: Sijo

Last Saturday, thanks to the Poetry Society of South Carolina, I attended a workshop hosted by Michele Reese called the Art of the Line. After writing (or failing to write) in iambic pentameter and deconstructing poems in small groups, we talked about form. Generally, I don’t limit myself to form when I write but in a fleeting moment of inspiration, I mentioned that I would love to challenge myself to writing in a form for a given amount of time. Poet, Yvette Murray offered to join me in the fun. We exchanged a few emails and landed on playing around with the Korean Sijo form. I owe her for introducing me to this lovely form which resembles the Haiku, but allows more syllables per line.

So for the month of April, I will write one Sijo every day. Every. Day.

Speaking of Saturday, Mr. Kendrick was in my small group during the workshop and said he often tells his students some writers are microwaves and some are crockpots. I relate to the later. I need time. The magic in my writing happens in revision. Adopting a microwave writing stance for a month will be new. But, I am okay with that. Crockpots may be great for savory stew, but sometimes a buttery bag of Orville Redenbacher is just the thing. Here’s to an April of popcorn poems.

Vernal Equinox

Blue Earth straightens herself out 

proud head held high, aligned just right.

After a wild dance with stars

her skirt hem hangs even 

a moment, a short pause

before she spins, dips again.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What’s Your Plan to Vote?

October is in full swing and now is the time to make a plan to vote. I’ll never forget the year I moved to a new city where the county election commission was riddled with technical difficulties. The problem was so widespread and detrimental to voter morale, it made national headlines. People waited hours in line, myself included. My three little kids were with me as I stood in the elementary school hallway until it was my turn.

This is what happens when you don’t make a plan.

For the 2020 election, I have a plan: I will vote in person because I love the shared experience with my neighbors. For me, this emotional boost of gathering with others who value civic duty is worth the risk of long lines. I am fortunate to live close enough to take a short walk to my precinct. And this time, I will leave the kids at home with a sitter.

But you don’t have to wait (or walk) to vote. Plan your vote today. Make sure your voice is heard. In the meantime, this poem was inspired by the year I had no plan.

Ballot

That year I stood in line

for 3 hours with 3 kids.

I lectured them 

like a televangelist

on voting rights

and American history,

how non-white, non-men

were denied the right

to participate in civil

circles, people died.

And if time in line 

was my earthly cross 

to bear for suffrage

in our amended present,

I would drag a slab of wood

until all the lights went dark,

until every door was locked.

Then I would hammer my fist 

until it dripped with blood

and poll workers let me fill

all the ovals in my ballot.

But gravitas was lost 

on them, their ears

plugged with hunger

their short legs tired

from standing for so long. 

Christmas Cow & Reading Poetry During a Pandemic

I am delighted to have three poems published in Vol. 52. of Broken Ink. Check out their website or swing by USC Aiken to snag a copy. Wednesday night, I attended Broken Ink’s release party in Aiken, South Carolina to read a few of my poems. Since the pandemic, I have basically been a hermit in my shell/home. Maybe that’s why it was heartening to be surrounded (and spread 6ft. out) by so many people who love the arts.

Reading in front of a crowd with a mask on, however, was a strange experience. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-mask. I am happy to wear one so we can gather in courtyards to share art safely. I just felt like I was going to swallow the cloth or worse choke on it. Plus, I don’t like the smell/taste/feel of my own breath. I also wondered what was happening beneath the masks in the crowd. Were they smiling, frowning, quietly booing? I will never know.

Below you will find audio links for two poems: Christmas Cow and A Conversation with an Opposum Nesting in a School Trash Bin which both appear in broken ink . They were both acknowledged for Washington Awards. While you’re at it, take a moment to read Allie Pizzemento’s award winning prose too. Like Christmas Cow, it is set in December (and no, we did not plan that out). If you enjoy her work, there is more good stuff on her blog. If it seems to soon to hear a poem like Christmas Cow, keep in mind, there are only 79 days until Christmas.

Christmas Cow by Danielle Ann Verwers
A Conversation With an Opossum Nesting in a School’s Trash Bin by Danielle Ann Verwers